For as long as people have existed, we’ve always longed for the good old days. From black and white movies to pastoral life, there’s always something that our ancestors grew up with that we wish we could experience, too. Vintage-feel and retro appliances are the perfect way to include a little bit of nostalgia in your dream kitchen. These throwback appliance designs give you the look and feel of the past, but with the energy efficiency and technological advances of today.
Designs from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s can add a wonderful retro flair to your kitchen. Look to the 1950s for beautiful, rounded pops of pastel colour and the 1960s for classic midcentury finishes. Or, lean into the 1970s for punchy pops of yellow and orange with bold, geometric designs.
1. Smeg Toasters: The iconic retro design
Smeg was one of the brands (if not the brand) that brought the ’50s back into the modern kitchen. With their distinctly fifties-inspired designs, these products are sleek and glossy. They have soft edges, sturdy builds, and come in creamy pastel hues.
The Smeg toaster is a classic that’s loved by home decor fanatics everywhere.
2. Long Slot Toasters
Toasters are a product category that really jives with the vintage look. The ’50s style popularized by Smeg has been so well-loved by home staging experts and lifestyle influencers that long slot, retro-styled toasters are popular with brands all across the industry.
You can now find similar ’50s styling in toasters from household names like Breville, KitchenAid, and Frigidaire. These long slot options are substantially longer than a standard toaster, and are great for toasting artisanal breads.
3. Vintage-look microwaves
Microwaves may not have been popular back in the ’50s and ’60s, but you can find ones today that look like they belong in that era! Brands like Costway and Nostalgia produce microwaves with an intentionally retro design, but they aren’t your only options on the market.
I personally love the way that Breville microwaves and toaster ovens fit into a retro-themed kitchen. If you’re willing to sacrifice a shiny, pastel lacquer, many designs from mainstream appliance brands still offer that same retro shape and feel, but with a stainless steel finish. I recommend looking for models with a “bubbly” front; that is, with large, rounded edges and chunky handles that stick out.
4. Fifties-inspired bar fridges and freezers
If you’ve ever gone shopping for a bar fridge, you might already know that this is one category where retro designs have always reigned. While it can be tough, at times, to find retro designs in other appliance categories, there have been tons of options for retro bar fridges and mini fridges for years. I’ll admit that I understand the appeal. There’s just something really beautiful and special about a funky little retro fridge!
These miniature fridges are a great way to add a retro feel to your home outside of the kitchen. They’re prefect for dorm rooms, home bars, and large bedrooms. You can store snacks, drinks, and even skincare in these fridges and freezers, and they come in a ton of different sizes and themes.
5. Retro coffee machines
One of the most important tenets to remember when designing and decorating your kitchen is that consistency is key. Creating a cohesive “look” for your space makes it feel warm and inviting, and lets the eye settle on the areas that you want to highlight—like your sparkling new stove, perhaps, or a large bay window near the eating area.
Opting for a matching coffee maker to your retro toaster, vintage-look microwave, or fifties-inspired bar fridge is a great way to continue the look. Smeg offers both a drip coffee machine and an espresso machine, but your options don’t stop there. Try pairing your other retro appliances with stainless steel-finished small appliances, and look for designs with rounded edges to help them blend in. You can still achieve a nostalgic, throwback aesthetic while getting to enjoy all the conveniences of modern life—including things like specialty espresso machines.
6. Bend time with retro blenders
If you dream about going down the street to the diner for milkshakes after school, then a retro blender is exactly what you need in your kitchen at home. Perfect for shakes and smoothies, a great, standing blender gives you a vintage vibe with the powerful motor of a modern machine.
Surprisingly, blenders haven’t changed a lot in the last 50 years. If you can’t find a retro design that fits your needs, there are still plenty of blender designs available today that still have a silhouette that’s similar to the ones from the soda shoppes of the ’50s and ’60s.
7. Retro kettles
If milkshakes, floats, and smoothies sound a little too chilly for you, then a retro kettle might be more your speed. Look for dome- or bell-shaped designs to echo the early ’50s and ’60s, with chunkier designs and wider spouts. Or, opt for a gooseneck kettle to throw way back. While popular today in midcentury modern design, gooseneck kettles date back to medieval Europe.
Today’s electric kettles offer a safer option than truly vintage designs, and bring your water to a boil quickly without taking up space on the stovetop.
8. Popcorn machines that take you way back
Air-popped popcorn machines were already retro in the ’50s. While we see a lot of these styles as ’40s or ’50s designs today, in reality, the very machines we’re throwing back to were inspired then by the early 1900s!
Those of us around today will never get to experience an early 20th Century circus, but we can bring a little bit of that magic into our homes with a retro popcorn machine. These machines are great for special occasions, but if you have the counter space to leave them out permanently, they can be a healthy after-school snack option, too. With no salt or butter (unless you choose to add some), air-popped popcorn machines make a tasty, crunchy, high-fibre snack on demand.
9. Novelty retro appliances
One of the great things about retro appliances is that some of them are just… So unique. We’ll probably all be saying the same thing about some of today’s appliances in 30 years, but there are some retro-styled small appliances out there that just charm my socks off with their specificity.
Take, for instance, something like a retro hot dog toaster or single-bottle cola fridge. I don’t know what kind of person consumes enough hot dogs or single glass bottles of pop to justify owning either, but I kind of want to meet them.
And then there are other products from Nostalgia Retro, like the brand’s Breakfast Stations, that just make sense. They’re so odd, and so specific, and yet you can’t help but look at them and think, “oh, yeah, I see exactly why that exists.”
10. Full-sized retro-styled major appliances
If you’re committing to the retro theme, you don’t have to stop at countertop small appliances. A select few brands offer major appliances with a retro look, and a few others have designs that complement the same aesthetic.
Galanz and Unique Retro both produce freestanding retro appliances. You can find their candy-coloured refrigerators online at Best Buy, as well as charming gas ranges and range hoods.
In a world where trends change faster than ever, if you’ve found a style that you love, why not turn it into a statement in your home? These stunning, whimsical designs offer something unexpected in home appliances today, and can help you create a space that looks and feels exactly as magical as you desire.
Find the perfect retro touches for your kitchen today in Best Buy’s wide selection of appliances.